Polly, a Polished Player

Paula Xiberras
29.10.14 5:48 am


I chatted recently to Steve Hawke author of ‘Polly Farmer: A Biography’. Steve, now living in Perth, has a connection with Tassie having lived here for a year in the late 70’s on his travels around Australia. Steve remembers Deloraine as very beautiful. Footballer Polly Farmer himself had a connection to our state with his wife Marlene being a Tassie girl who met Polly on her own travels around Australia.

Steve says it may be lost in the mists of time how Graham Farmer got his nickname of ‘Polly’. The general thought is that he was named Polly as in the parrot because of his chatty nature. It’s Graham’s middle name Vivian that is telling of the man. Vivian meaning ‘full of life’, which undeniably Polly was both in football and other accomplishments.

Steve believes that Polly Farmer is arguably the greatest footballer the game has known, not just because of his talent as a player, although that in itself would make him worthy of sitting with the greats, but because of his all-round abilities in the game, both on and off the field.

In the three football teams he played for, East Perth, Geelong and West Perth, Polly was the telling factor in those teams achieving their triumphs.

Polly’s longevity in the game was also a factor in his fame, but it was the fact he changed the game of football in his pioneering use of the handball that stands Polly apart. Polly would practise this to perfection as he sat in his car and passed the ball through the car window.

The history of the handball was as a defensive move but Polly proved it could too, be an offensive part of play.Polly’s philosophy was to get the ball in a ‘better position;’’ Today this tactic and technique is a vital part of play but Polly trademarked it.

Steve says Polly gave more than a hundred percent to the game, so much so that he was completely exhausted after a game and was not the kind of man who would concern himself with celebrations and drinks post match. He was, an extremely private man who gave so much to the game that away from it he preferred to spend time with his family. Another first from Polly was that he was one of the first footballers to treat football as a profession before in the modern game, it was acknowledged as one.

Polly Farmer is out now published by Slattery Media Group.

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